I’ll admit, I still don’t know much about the stock market. But playing stock market games? That sounds like an easier challenge.
Friends and family who are in business encourage me to put my money away in stocks. Ironically, they always have a hunch on a growing company or one that is set to explode.
These people have been a great help, but I still don’t feel comfortable with my choices without a lot of research and questioning.
I attribute a lot of this to not having the tools available to learn about the stock market at an early age. My high school did not put a lot of emphasis on personal finance. But that has changed.
Some people argue that personal finance should be a mandatory course in high school. In fact, our province recently wrote a curriculum for the course. Previously, schools had to develop their own.
Now that I have the ability to teach students about the stock market, I am always looking for resources to help me along the path.
However, the greatest resource I use is stock market games.
Why Stock Market Games?
Stock market games hit two very critical aspects of education.
Firstly, they teach students the top reasons why they should invest. These are integral not only to the course but for student’s futures. Depending on their path, they now have the basics of how they can make the most of their money. By combining it with personal finance skills, they can set attainable goals and plan to reach them in the timeframe they set out.
Secondly, stock market games are game-based learning opportunities for students. According to CNET, 91% of kids are gamers. Stock market games allow teachers to use an interest (and skill) of students to teach them content in a fun and challenging way.
Additionally, game-based learning keeps students relevant to a changing society. With many industries turning towards technology to complete work-tasks, people need to learn to adapt to human-dependant careers.
Name one computer that can currently do things such as collaboration, problem-solving, communication, or critical thinking. These are the necessary human skills that game-based learning helps to grow.
Choosing the right game is also important. This article outlines the top 3 stock market games for you to use in your classroom (or at home)!
HowTheMarketWorks is one of the most engaging tools I use in my classroom.
Students get a set amount of money to begin investing in either American or Canadian stocks, ETFs, or mutual funds in a realistic environment. Additionally, rules are set to make it as unrealistic or realistic as you prefer. Factors such as hours, number of trades per day, cash values, and commissions are all controllable by the teacher.
Student portfolios can be viewed and compared easily by the teacher. This allows me to see what is causing certain students to perform better than others quickly. Also, I can try to encourage some peer learning by sending underperforming students to see the ones at the top for help.
HowTheMarketWorks also includes tutorial videos to assist students in certain aspects of the game. This has been integral in showing them how to research and find answers on their own. This ties in directly to the human-centric skills listed above and saves the teacher time from running around to a bunch of hands-up with questions.
Finally, HowTheMarketWorks has customizable built-in assignments for students to complete. This extends the learning by making students learn vocabulary, practice certain tasks, and master concepts!
Wall Street Survivor gives you (and the students) some different options. Like the others, you can create your own class game. However, users can also play public games for prizes.
Students use an easy-to-read interface to invest $100,000 into a portfolio. The interface is very user-friendly, and I have found students to seamlessly jump into it and understand where to go. This has made the learning curve drop, which maximizes playtime.
Additionally, Wall Street Survivor provides its own feedback on whether or not the user should buy or sell a stock. Although their feedback doesn’t predict whether or not the stock will be profitable, it helps students make confident decisions. It is no different than an investment banker looking at other’s opinions in the media.
Something that really impresses me is the number of resources available. Students and teachers can access a wide range of text and video content to help with anything they are having trouble with. The game is already very user-friendly, but the extra resources make it that much easier.
Like HowTheMarketWorks, MarketWatch is a completely customizable game that allows students to learn the basics of the stock market in an easy-to-view interface.
Teachers set the parameters for their students, and students can then start trading stocks in real-time. There is also a message board that can be used for strategizing or trash-talk.
Students can customize their dashboard to their liking as well. If students want to watch certain stocks alongside their current holdings, custom watchlists can be created to do just that. This can make future decisions much easier.
My favourite feature of MarketWatch is how easy they make it for teachers! Their home page has step-by-step guidelines on how to set up a game properly. Also, they give you sample course materials and classroom handouts free of charge!
Final Thoughts on Stock Market Games
I have always found success in game-based learning. Students engage with it, and once you have them engaged, the learning potential is endless.
Although there are a time and place to integrate games into the classroom, the stock market games listed above can almost take over an entire unit from your class. The number of resources available to teachers that are integrated into the simulations allows students to take control of their own learning.
And this gives the teacher a chance to step back and spend time with the students who need their support.
If you have the resources available to you, I encourage you to try stock market games in your classroom. They are unbelievable learning tools that successfully teach students more than just content. They also prepare students for careers they have yet to discover.
I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on these stock market games, or any others you may use in your classroom in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!